Utility Pole + Overhead Systems (Sep 09-10)

This biennial program pairs informative educational sessions presented by industry experts with a trade show. More than 14 sessions are offered over two days to highlight new technologies, best practices and address challenges found with utility pole structures and related overhead systems. Engineers, operations and purchasing personnel from utilities and service companies from throughout Western North America have the opportunity to network at the interactive trade show open throughout the conference. The trade show features more than 40 vendors offering hands-on demonstrations of the latest pole products and innovations in the industry. Vendors encouraged to display.

Register Now

General Details

Program Chair
Doug Long, Project Manager, Puget Sound Energy

Program Location
Embassy Suites Portland Airport
7900 NE 82nd Ave
Portland, OR 97220

Who Should Attend

  • Engineering professionals
  • Operations managers
  • Purchasing professionals
  • Materials managers
  • Environmental professionals
  • Utility pole program and project managers
  • Service companies providing pole and overhead structure materials, treatments, or related products.

Registration Options
Member Conference Registration: $449
Regular Conference Registration: $549
Member Conference Registration + Vendor Display: $649
Regular Conference Registration + Vendor Display: $749
+ Booth Assistant: $300

Prices increase $100 after August 17. Conference registration includes all sessions, meals and optional networking dinner. Booth assistant passes are available for $300 each once the main vendor registration is complete and include all food events. Members of NWPPA have access to WEI member pricing for this program.

For more information contact Anna Sanger Reed, Program Manager at 503.688.2795.


Wednesday, September 09, 2015

7:00 AM – 8:00 AM
Registration + Breakfast

8:00 AM – 8:15 AM
Welcome + Conference Overview
Facilitator: Doug Long, Project Manager, Puget Sound Energy

8:15 AM – 9:00 AM
Keynote: State of the Industry
Speaker: R. Patrick Reiten, President and Chief Executive Officer, PacifiCorp Transmission
We kick off our event with an overview of the current challenges and changes we are facing as an industry. This is a very exciting time to be working in the electric industry as we anticipate and adapt to rapidly changing customer needs and new innovations in technology for providing power. Hear a leadership perspective on what these changes mean for our work today and in the future.

9:00 AM – 9:15 AM
Pole 101
Speaker: Butch Bernhardt, Sr. Program Manager, Western Wood Preservers Institute
Where do wood poles come from? From tree to finished pole, there are many steps involved in growing, identifying, processing and pressure treating wood poles before they can be purchased and used. Learn about the factors that are considered from the very beginning for each pole, the preservatives that are used in treating wood poles, and the implications all of these factors can have in getting a safe, reliable and long-lasting wood pole.

9:15 AM – 9:45 AM
Managing and Maintaining a Healthy Pole Asset System
Speaker: Scott Bostrom, Senior Electrical Engineering Specialist, Seattle City Light
Hear from one of your industry peers with Seattle City Light about how decisions are made around pole life, and pole inventory management. Seattle City Light has developed a pole assessment program designed to efficiently keep the pole system up to date by optimizing both pole lifespan and budget use. Learn how the many factors involved in utility pole decisions are navigated to achieve the best possible result.

9:45 AM – 10:15 AM
Break with Vendor Displays
Wi-fi internet throughout event sponsored by Pole Socks. Login information provided at table.

Pole Socks




10:15 AM – 11:00 AM
Steel and Swamp Land
Speaker: Douglas Long, Project Manager, Puget Sound Energy
Learn about how Puget Sound Electric adapted equipment and strategies to complete a complex and unique construction. The Thurston 230 kV Project was a 3.5 mile double-circuited 230 kV electric transmission line build in the Thurston County area of Washington State to provide increased capacity to a growing customer base and to improve reliability to Thurston County. This involved specialized drilled pier foundations and rebar cage assemblies in very wet and heavily permitted wetlands.

11:00 AM – 11:45 AM
Optimization of Wood Pole Plant Performance
Speaker: Benjamin Butera, Director – Product Management, Osmose Utilities Services, Inc.
We’ll explore the latest developments and advances in getting the most out of wood pole performance. Learn about what you can do to ensure that you’re maximizing the life of the wood poles you have in service and prep new wood poles for the longest possible life.

11:45 AM – 12:15 PM
Steel Maintenance
Speaker: Dr. Zee Zamanzadeh, Director, Materials and Corrosion Engineering, MATCO Services, Inc.
Corrosion is a serious threat to steel poles, but can be avoided with the proper prevention strategies and management. Learn about the latest innovations for fighting corrosion while we connect new and exciting corrosion engineering research with practical and tangible applications for your work today and in the future. This presentation will cover the topics of corrosion assessment, cathodic protection, coatings, grounding and stray current.

12:15 PM – 1:45 PM
Lunch with Vendor Displays
Sponsored by:

McWane Poles




1:45 PM – 2:15 PM
Utility Poles + Wildfires
Speaker: Mark Pritchard, Operations Manager, Okanogan County PUD
Wildfires are an increasing concern for many regions across the west. Hear from Okanogan Public Utility District about their recent experience with a severe wildfire and the resulting damage. We’ll explore what was done during and directly after the fire to plan the reaction and begin the repairs. We’ll also hear about the important factors to consider when rebuilding to minimize damage and asset loss in future fires.

2:15 PM – 3:00 PM
Joint Use Overview
Speaker: Jason Nemjo, Joint Utilities Specialist, Clark Public Utilities
Joint use issues can complicate utility pole and overhead system management, especially if decisions makers aren’t aware of how to execute and manage effective agreements that benefit all parties. We’ll hear best practices on managing existing violations, best practices for establishing and maintaining relationships with local contacts, including communication in your design, and holding all sides accountable.

3:00 PM – 3:30 PM
Break with Vendor Displays
Sponsored by:

arch wood protection



3:30 PM – 4:00 PM
Pole Disposal + Pole Storage
Speaker: Jeffrey Morrell, Professor, Dept of Forest Products, Oregon State University
It’s important to understand all of your options for utility pole disposal and storage. Cost, convenience, and environmental impact are all important factors. Well explore some of the new disposal and storage plans being implemented by utilities.

4:00 PM – 4:30 PM
California’s New Rule on Wood Pole Loading
Speaker: Heide Caswell, DIrector of Network Performance Department, PacifiCorp
Changes in rules and regulations can have major implications on how work should be done. Stay ahead of the curve by learning about a new rule in California for wood pole loading and what it means for utility pole systems across the region.

4:30 PM – 5:00 PM
Phase Raisers
Speaker: Paul Morgan, Transmission Engineer, PNM Resources Inc.
For one southwestern utility, Phase Raisers have proven to be an efficient and effective tool to resolve ground clearance issues and optimize line ratings. Public Service Company of New Mexico have installed over 1500 Phase Raiser assemblies at voltages ranging from 46kV through 345kV. Learn about Phase Raiser applications, advantages and challenges. See examples of recent projects.

5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Reception with Vendor Displays
Followed by dinner on your own.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

7:30 AM – 8:00 AM

8:00 AM – 9:30 AM
Computer-Based Pole Loading Calculations
Speakers: Mike Rigney, Product Manager, O-Calc Pro, Osmose Utilities Services, Inc.
Otto Lynch, Vice President, Power Line Systems, Inc.
Brett Willitt, Vice President, SPIDA Software / IJUS
We’ll run an example calculation through three different pole loading calculations to compare the features and advantages of each approach. Learn about what tools and resources are available when choosing the best calculation software for your projects.

9:30 AM – 10:00 AM
Lineman Perspectives on Different Types of Poles
Speaker: Michael Brown, Construction Mainetenance Superintendent, Clark Public Utilities
What makes pole materials and design elements more or less difficult to work with from a linemans perspective? Well hear about how the decisions made from a design and management perspective result in advantages or challenges in the field for the employees who do repair and maintenance work every day.

10:00 AM – 10:30 AM
Break with Vendor Displays + Hotel Check Out

10:30 AM – 11:00 AM
Avian Protection
Speaker: Haley Edwards, Senior Resource Scientist, Puget Sound Energy
An effective avian protection plan can not only protect local wildlife and keep your utility in compliance with state and federal regulations, but can also help you maintain power reliability for your customers. Learn about the background of avian protection laws and regulations, considerations and factors for identifying risk, and how to make electrical infrastructure safer for birds.

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Utility Pole + Overhead System Problem Solving
Facilitators: Aleksey Shkuratkov, Pacificorp and Doug Long, Puget Sound Energy
Doug Long, Project Manager, Puget Sound Energy
Benefit from the wealth of knowledge in the room as we address the most pressing questions and challenges that have not already been addressed or discussed. Conference attendees will spend some time talking at their tables about issues they are currently facing and would like to explore, and decide on one to raise to the rest of the audience and identify new perspectives and possible solutions.

12:00 PM – 1:30 PM
Lunch with Vendor Displays
Sponsored by:




1:30 PM – 2:00 PM 
What’s New in Wood Alternatives
Speaker: Deepa Akula, Structural Engineering Manager, McFarland Cascade, a Stella-Jones Co.
While wood poles have many advantages, there are other options to be considered based on the factors at hand for your utility. Hear an update on product availability, advances and features for laminated wood poles, woodpecker resistant wood crossarms and woodpecker resistant wraps for wood poles using composite materials technology.

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Use of Unmanned Aerial Systems (Drones) for Pole Inspection
Speaker: Kevin J. Gould, CEO, Hawk Aerial
Recent advances in drone technology are creating tremendous opportunities for improvement in time, cost and safety. Come hear how drone systems work, how they can be applied in our industry and what the future is likely to hold in this realm. Learn about the technology, operational guidelines, regulatory issues and services available, and how this rapidly evolving technology could revolutionize an important part of our business.

3:00 PM – 3:15 PM
Closing Comments
Facilitator: Doug Long, Project Manager, Puget Sound Energy

3:15 PM
Conference Adjourns

3:15 PM – 3:45 PM
Conference Wrap up

Hotel + Travel

Embassy Suites Portland Airport
7900 NE 82nd Ave
Portland, OR 97220
Phone: 503.460.3000

Reservation Instructions
Please contact the hotel directly at 1.800.821.5879 to make your room reservations. Use the code “we1” to receive a special rate of $199/night. In order to use this code, you must check-in on 9/8 and checkout 9/10. Rooms and rate are available until August 31st or until the block is full. You can also make your reservations online.

The Embassy Suites Portland-Airport hotel is the perfect place to relax in ultimate comfort in one of our 251 two-room Portland suites. Our large bedrooms include one king-sized bed or two double beds and a private dressing area. Spacious living areas feature a full-sized sofa bed and a large, well-lit dining or work table. Included in each Portland Airport hotel suite is a range of home comforts, including a microwave, and coffeemaker as well as two televisions with complimentary premium channels.

Start the morning off right with a complimentary cooked-to-order breakfast, and gather each evening to socialize with friends and family during our Evening Reception*. Appreciate the on-demand airport shuttle, overnight parking ($10), and high-speed internet access (fee applies).

Driving Directions
From Pearson Field Airport (6 miles):
Take I-205 North to Mill Plain East exit. Follow Mill Plain east until you pass Pearson Field, take you first left after the Pearson Field.

From Portland-Troutdale Airport (10 miles):
Take I-205 South to the I-84 East Exit, Take exit #17 and follow the airport signs.

Vendor Displays

Vendor Display Schedule

Wednesday, September 9
7:00 AM – 9:45 AM: Check-in & Set-up
9:45 – 10:15 AM: Break and Trade Show
12:15 – 1:45 PM: Lunch and Trade Show
3:00 – 3:30 PM: Break and Trade Show
5:00 – 7:00 PM: Reception and Trade Show

Thursday, September 10
7:30 – 8:00 AM: Coffee and Trade Show
10:00 – 10:30 AM: Break, Trade Show and Hotel checkout
12:00 – 1:30 PM: Lunch and Trade Show
1:30 PM – 5:00 pm: Tear Down

Vendor Registration Options

Member Conference Registration + Vendor Display: $649
Regular Conference Registration + Vendor Display: $749
+ Booth Assistant: $300

Prices increase $100 after August 17. Conference registration includes all sessions, meals and optional networking dinner. Booth assistant passes are available for $300 each once the main vendor registration is complete and include all food events. Members of NWPPA have access to WEI member pricing for this program.

Arrangements for power, audio visual equipment, or other supplies may be made directly through Kevin Sullivan at 971.255.4973.


Selecting Your Display Location

The selection of location is first come, first served, and registrants may request top choices during registration. Display locations are subject to change or reconfiguration based on the amount of vendor participation and the resort’s function space. Registrants will receive a separate booth assignment confirmation from WEI after completing a registration.

2015_UtilityPole_Vendor-Map table_assignments


Registered Vendors (as of August 23)

Aerial Inspection Resources
Arch Wood Protection, Inc.
Brooks Manufacturing Co.
Genics Inc.
Hawk Aerial
Hughes Brothers, Inc.
Intec Services, Inc.
Laminated Wood Systems, Inc.
McFarland Cascade, a Stella-Jones Co.
McWane Poles
Osmose Utilities Services, Inc.
Pacific Steel Structures, LLC.
Poles, Inc.
Polesocks LLC
SPIDA Software / IJUS
SSI Maxim Company
Stephens, McCarthy, Lancaster LLC
Sustainable Management Systems
William Frick & Co.
Wood Care Systems

Vendor Shipping Instructions

Embassy Suites Portland Airport
Attn: Receiving
7900 Northeast 82nd Avenue
Portland, OR 97220

Packages should arrive no earlier than three days prior to the conference start date. All packages should include: Conference Name, Conference Dates, Number of Boxes.

Questions regarding Vendor Displays?
Kevin Sullivan
Senior Program Manager
971.255.4973 or

Meet The Speakers

R. Patrick Reiten

PacifiCorp Transmission

President and Chief Executive Officer
Learn More

Patrick Reiten is president and chief executive officer of PacifiCorp Transmission. He was appointed to this position in March 2015 and is responsible for managing the West’s largest single owned- and-operated transmission system. He oversees transmission services, transmission planning and system operations as well as the company’s transmission expansion projects.

Prior to his current position, Reiten served as president and CEO of Pacific Power, responsible for delivering electricity safely and reliably to 733,000 customers in Oregon, Washington and California, Pacific Power is a 105-year-old company serving 243 communities across the three states.

Before joining PacifiCorp, Reiten was president and chief executive officer of PNGC Power, an energy cooperative located in Portland, Ore. He was appointed to that position in May 2002 and was responsible for the overall operations of two corporate entities (PNGC Power and Power Resources Cooperative).

Prior to PNGC Power, Reiten served as an aide to U.S. Sen. Mark O. Hatfield, responsible for many issues, particularly those associated with the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. He also served as an official in several different capacities at the U.S. Department of Interior, including deputy director of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

Reiten has actively maintained director or board leadership roles in community and industry interests. Currently, he serves as chair of Associated Oregon Industries and co-chair of The Freshwater Trust; he also serves on the Legacy Health System board of directors and the Oregon Business Council.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science with an emphasis in economics from the University of Washington and completed executive training at the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania.

Reiten lives in Portland with his wife Randi and their three children.

Mark Pritchard

Okanogan County PUD

Operations Manager
Learn More

Mark Pritchard began his career at Okanogan PUD 23 years ago as an Apprentice Lineman, Then became a Journeyman and for the last 15 years as Operations Manager. He is responsible for the Safety and direction of the Linecrews, Serviceman, Wireman, Metershop, Hazmat, Telecom Techs, Fleet and Vegetation Management.

Jeffrey Morrell

Oregon State University

Professor, Dept of Forest Products
Learn More

Professor, Oregon State University

Heide Caswell


DIrector of Network Performance Department

Otto Lynch

Power Line Systems, Inc.

Vice President
Learn More

In 1988, Mr. Lynch received his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering with an emphasis on Structures from the University of Missouri at Rolla. Since then, Otto has participated in the design and construction of numerous overhead line projects around the world up to 500kV. During this time he also became very interested in the newly emerging technology of 3-D computer modeling of overhead lines and was the pioneer in the integration of then newly emerging LiDAR technology with transmission line design. His professional interest and personal passion for the innovative 3-D computer modeling software overhead line design and structural analysis naturally led to his current position at PLSi as Vice President.

Mr. Lynch is a registered Professional Engineer and an active member of many ASCE and IEEE technical committees, including the ASCE 48 Steel Pole Transmission Structures committee and the ASCE 10 Lattice Steel Transmission Structures Committee. He most recently served on ASCE’s Report Card for America’s Infrastructure and is currently serving on the ASCE Committee on America’s Infrastructure. Otto is a past Chairman of the ASCE/SEI Committee of Electrical Transmission Structures, Chair of the upcoming 2015 ASCE Electrical Transmission and Substation Conference, and is a voting member of Subcommittee 5 of the National Electrical Safety Code. Otto was recently honored by receiving the ASCE’s 2012 Gene Wilhoite Innovations in Transmission Line Engineering Award and inducted as a Fellow in ASCE’s Structural Engineering Institute.

Haley Edwards

Puget Sound Energy

Senior Resource Scientist
Learn More

Haley Edwards is a Senior Resource Scientist with Puget Sound Energy’s Environmental and Program Services Group. During her 7 years at PSE she has supported the avian protection program by addressing bird and power line interactions, leading avian management for PSE’s wind facilities, and supporting hydro license implementation related to birds and habitat management. Haley has contributed to the avian program through facilitating positive relationships with state and federal agencies, responding to and mitigating avian/power line incidents, contributing as an active member of the Avian Power Line Interaction Committee, conducting avian studies and habitat improvement projects, implementing process improvement strategies, and completing several documents, including PSE’s revised Avian Protection Plan, and Bird and Bat Conservation Strategies for each of PSE’s wind facilities. Haley has more than 13 years of experience in her field of wildlife and habitat studies and management. Her background includes working for a nature center, land conservancy, National Park, and independent consultant, focusing on a variety of species including several eastern songbirds, endangered butterflies, marbled murrelets, and northern spotted owls. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science with a double major in Environmental Studies and Writing from Western Michigan University.

Brett Willitt

SPIDA Software / IJUS

Vice President
Learn More

Brett Willitt, Vice President of SPIDA Software, has been with SPIDA for over six years and has twenty years of experience in the telecommunication and electric utility industries. Mr. Willitt’s primary roles are to provide guidance to the SPIDA organization while spearheading company growth strategies, interacting with customers and working with partners to expand SPIDA’s position in the industry. His industry awareness and expertise places him at the forefront of the industry and positions SPIDA to stay one step ahead. Mr. Willitt has contributed significantly to the growth and success of SPIDA, which now serves over 150 clients and over one-thousand users.

Brett lives in Buffalo, NY with his wife, Carrie, and three children.

Kevin J. Gould

Hawk Aerial

Learn More

Kevin is an active, instrument-rated pilot who has spent the majority of his career as an executive in the aircraft industry: Piper Aircraft (CEO), BendixKing/Honeywell Avionics (President), Adam Aircraft (SVP) and Boeing (Director). And as a businessman, innovator, drone enthusiast and entrepreneur, he sees the potential for UAV’s to benefit industries of all types. He founded Hawk Aerial to advance the commercial use of drone technology in business. Kevin holds an MBA from Harvard, an MS from Stanford and a law degree from USC.

Paul Morgan


Transmission Engineer
Learn More

Mr. Morgan has a BA in Mechanical Engineering from New Mexico State University and over 10 years electric utility experience. As an early adopter, PNM assisted Laminated Wood Systems with the development of the Phase Raiser system including design modifications and full scale testing. To date PNM has installed approximately 1300 Phase Raiser assemblies at voltages ranging from 46kV through 345kV.

Douglas Long

Puget Sound Energy

Project Manager

Deepa Akula

McFarland Cascade, a Stella-Jones Co.

Structural Engineering Manager
Learn More

Deepa is the Engineering Manager at McFarland Cascade’s Laminated Wood Pole Division where she supervises a team of engineers responsible for design and analysis of laminated wood structures. She has 8 years of experience designing tele-communication structures and overhead utility infrastructure.

Deepa holds a Master of Science degree in Engineering from University of Missouri – Columbia and is a registered Professional Engineer in WA, TX, WI, OH, AZ, OR, NH and VT).

Michael Brown

Clark Public Utilities

Construction Mainetenance Superintendent

Mehrooz Zamanzadeh

MATCO Services, Inc.

Director, Materials and Corrosion Engineering
Learn More

Dr. Mehrooz Zamanzadeh (Dr. Zee) is a Corrosion and Materials Engineering Specialist with over 30 years of experience in the fields of inspection, corrosion risk assessment, corrosion mitigation, materials selection and design, cathodic protection, and protective coatings. He is an expert in materials testing, failure analysis and process evaluation. He has worked with many electrical utilities to develop and undertake Corrosion Control Programs in the United States and Canada. He is certified by the National Association of Corrosion Engineers as a Specialist in Corrosion, Coatings, Materials Selection and Design, and Cathodic Protection.

Dr. Zee is the Director of Corrosion and Materials Engineering at MATCO Services, and is the recipient of the NACE Fellow Award (2008); ASM Fellow Award (2006); NACE Outstanding Service Award (1996), ASM Entrepreneur of the Year Award (2004), and the Colonel Cox Award for the Appalachian Underground Corrosion Short Course (2010).

Scott Bostrom

Seattle City Light

Senior Electrical Engineering Specialist
Learn More

Scott Bostrom has over eleven years of experience in the power industry. He began his career at POTELCO, where he worked as both engineer and project manager on large scale power infrastructure design, distribution engineering, and commercial undergrounding projects. He joined Seattle City Light two years ago, where he works in the Distribution Engineering department. Currently his main focus is asset management and replacement.

Butch Bernhardt

Western Wood Preservers Institute

Program Manager
Learn More

Butch Bernhardt is the Program Manager for the Western Wood Preservers Institute. His responsibilities include product education, technical publications, standards, distance learning and digital design tools for preserved wood products.

Bernhardt has extensive experience in wood promotion, providing product support, user education and international market development for nearly three decades in positions with Western Wood Products Association, Softwood Export Council and Western Red Cedar Lumber Association.

He holds a bachelor’s degree from Oregon State University and is the third generation in his family to work in the wood products industry.

Western Wood Preservers Institute, headquartered in Vancouver, Wash., represents preservative treated wood product producers, chemical manufacturers and others serving the industry throughout western North America. For more than 60 years, WWPI has provided regulatory and market outreach services aimed at sustaining a viable western North America preserved wood industry.

Mike Rigney

Osmose Utilities Services, Inc.

Product Manager, O-Calc Pro
Learn More

Mike Rigney is a Product Manager for the Osmose Utilities Services’ O-Calc Pro Pole Loading Software. Mike earned his doctorate degree from the University of South Carolina in Physics. He has been with Osmose for 19 years working on various software products within the telecommunications and electric utility markets with a strong emphasis on understanding the needs of a diverse users group. Mike has participated on an International Electrotechnical Commission standards committee helping to set the standards for interfaces between Distribution Management systems. Mike has presented numerous talks at trade conferences and has many years experience teaching at the college level.

Benjamin Butera

Osmose Utilities Services, Inc.

Director - Product Management
Learn More

Ben has worked in the utility T&D sector for 11 years and lives in Atlanta, GA. At Osmose, Ben leads the Product Management group, which is responsible for managing the company’s portfolio roadmap as well as investments in new products and services. In his current research, Ben is especially focused on regulatory economic analysis, quantitative asset management strategies and unique financing models for long term management of utility fixed assets.

Jason Nemjo

Clark Public Utilities

Joint Utilities Specialist
Learn More

Jason has worked for Clark Public Utilities for 16 years. He started with the Utility in 1999 in the Field Service Dept. reading electric and water meters. After three and a half years in Field Service Jason was awarded the position as a Joint Utilities Coordinator to rebuild the department that had been dormant for several years. Four years later he was promoted to Joint Utilities Specialist and allowed to utilize students and existing staff to grow the department even further.

Today Jason’s responsibilities within the Joint Use department primarily focus on resolving the many Joint Use related issues that otherwise do not fit in the day to day routine of the department, a.k.a. putting out fires.

Jason prides himself on providing outstanding customer service and aims to exceed the customers expectations.